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Remote learning spurs right choice of optimum technological capabilities in the education sector

As the COVID-19 pandemic created an almost total elimination of person-to-person contact, our homes were suddenly transformed into virtual offices and classrooms. This led to the spike in demand for sophisticated technology and devices required to facilitate seamless communication and interaction amongst peers within educational institutions. For students, the requirements can vary for each individual – from attending lectures, conducting research, as well as creating multimedia content such as presentations, graphics, animation to gaming and entertainment.

And as educational institutions ‘re-open’ and students ‘go back’ to school and resume their formal learning process, health and safety measures aimed at further controlling the spread of coronavirus and protect most of society against the deadly disease has put into the forefront the need for desktops and laptops capable of meeting the demands for seamless video, audio and file sharing requirements.

Connectivity

Equally vital to this is to have the best Wi-Fi coverage so that students can seamlessly work from anywhere at their homes.

Elevating the user experience with secure and strong connectivity, Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 series delivers the fastest wireless connection speeds for PCs by delivering up to 2402Mbps with increased network capacity, as well as Bluetooth 5.1 support when used with a compatible access point. This is perfect for students with multiple users at home, with a number of accessories that a student might need other than a powerful wireless network.

For instance, sharing of files or transmitting video, Intel’s Thunderbolt 4 – the next generation of its universal cable connectivity solution – enables users to connect and share files incredibly quick between PC’s and other devices.

With children spending more time on their gadgetry, it’s a must to keep certain protocols in place at home
Image Credit: Supplied

Processing Power

Taking into consideration the different levels of learning requirements (among primary, secondary, or tertiary levels), processor performance capabilities would vary from student to student. While typical usage of word processing, web browsing, video conferencing, and basic productivity tools may remain constant across all tiers of education, specialized tertiary level courses may require more powerful processing capacities due to equally specialized software. Simply put, an engineering student’s learning tools will not be the same as that of a primary school student.

Digital content size and creation, multitasking requirements and simulations/modelling and AI/machine learning demand varying levels of processing and can impact on the interactive pace of both teachers and students, and worse, the entire course.

How to choose for yourself?

So how does one choose the most appropriate processing capacity within a remote learning setup? First, would be to clearly identify requirements. A student’s curriculum must be able to present learning requirements and appropriate platform within which to run essential software. By identifying which software may be required, only then can one also identify potential technological capacities.

While an important factor in the decision-making process will always be cost, there are a multitude of questions that also need to be asked and answered before an informed decision can be made on which processor is best suited for a student:

These include:

Q: Will the computer be carried to school, or always stay home?

A: Consider the tradeoffs between mobile and desktop computers.

Q: If it’s mobile, will the computer be carried frequently?

A: Consider overall size, weight and battery life of the mobile computer.

Q: Will the computer support the full range of software required? For example, run more than one app at the same time?

A: Consider choosing a processor with enough power to run robust productivity applications, and multiple applications at the same time.

Q: How much time will be spent using a keyboard?

A: Consider how much time will be spent writing and choose a PC that supports a full keyboard. It’s worth considering touch and pen options.

Q: How much time will be spent video conferencing?

A: Consider the tradeoffs of using a built-in camera and microphone versus purchasing and attaching them separately.

Q: Will the computer run a video conference and one or more applications at the same time?

A: Consider screen size to be certain everything is visible, make sure there is enough performance to run multiple applications at the same time.

Q: Will the computer support the full range of software required? Run more than one app at the same time?

A: Consider choosing a processor with enough power to run robust productivity applications, and multiple applications at the same time.

Q: Will your computer need to run legacy education apps that require Flash?

A: Consider operating systems that fully support Flash content and applications even when not connected.

Q: How will the critical issues of security and privacy be addressed?

A: Consider choosing a PC that has hardware-based security as a key component.

How secure is the device your child is using right now?
Image Credit: Supplied

Online security

With a surge of new machines active in the digital space, online security has risen to the top of customers’ agendas as a deciding factor, and rightly so. At Intel, it has always been a priority – an ongoing commitment rather than a one-off project. Treating security as a cornerstone of processor architecture is one thing but educating customers on the tools available is crucial to maintaining a safe and secure environment for students to learn.

Intel’s team have developed a list of nine tips for parents to consider and adopt when setting up a new machine:

1. Set up parental controls through your internet provider and on the device’s operating system

2. Teach your kids the value of strong passwords and to not share them with anyone except you

3. Be aware. Don’t allow your child to use Private or Incognito modes

4. Make sure that each child has their own profile on shared computers. Check browser histories to ensure safe use

5. Keep your kids in public areas when using devices

6. Collect all devices at night and charge them in your bedroom

7. Set clear expectations: let your children know you will be checking their online activities

8. Disconnect. Set screen-free times during the day

9. Do not download files from an unknown person. Sometimes a phishing attack will involve a file being downloaded to your computer

Try to have an expansive WiFi coverage at home, so as to enable ease of use as well as access
Image Credit: Supplied

Longevity

A final consideration before assessing and selecting the right processor is the overall longevity of the machine. If the desktop or laptop will be used by multiple family members, how will usage change over the course of the next few years and will it need to support students transitioning between primary, secondary or tertiary curriculums? Purchasing a more powerful processor like an i7 or i9 is more of a long-term investment and will pay dividends for larger families, multiple users and cater for more complex computing, whereas Pentium-powered lightweight notebooks are ideal for younger students.

While distance learning is certainly a powerful tool for the education sector during the pandemic, it may not always be the norm. By future-proofing your machine and investing in the right processor it will enable a safe environment for learning and enable students to have seamless access to the tools essential for their education.

 

Source: https://gulfnews.com/technology/remote-learning-spurs-right-choice-of-optimum-technological-capabilities-in-the-education-sector-1.1602760707459

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